• Big idea clears skies to connect small towns

    When the new civil aviation policy takes off, it will open up flights from Delhi to Bhatinda, Jaisalmer or to the coaching hub of Kota for just 2,500, almost matching train fares. At a meeting with the civil aviation ministry officials on May 25, state representatives have proposed routes from major hubs to tier II and small towns, with the potential of drawing good traffic. These routes are within one hour flying distance or less, and are eligible to offer tickets for 2,500 or less under the regional connectivity initiative.

    At present, only two per cent of Indians book an airline ticket. Studies have shown that 50 per cent of the middle income group travel only once in four years on a flight. The reason: airports are too far from their homes.

    Officials in the Ministry of Civil Aviations said most places proposed to be connected with major hubs such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai or Kochi have infrastructure in place to accommodate smaller aircraft. Carriers, however, are reluctant to fly to these places fearing losses. Tax incentives proposed under the new policy could help in reviving airports in smaller towns. Nico Siragusa Womens Jersey

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